A push in funding to begin a long anticipated road-widening project on Hwy. 53 north of I-85 was initiated by the Town of Braselton March 11 when the council agreed to spend $89,000 in SPLOST funds to partner with Jackson County and the Georgia Department of Transportation. The plans include widening the segment of Hwy. 53 to Johnson Drive and installing two traffic signals — one at Chardonnay Trace — and one at Braselton Parkway.
Monday’s vote moved the town into a cooperation proposal with GDOT and Jackson County, whereby the state would fund $630,000 for the total project cost of $899,593. Now, the project is contingent upon Jackson County’s approval to proceeds, Braselton Town manager Jennifer Dees wrote in an email.
The local government cost for the total project would be roughly $270,000, with Jackson County having already committed to pay for the traffic signal at Braselton Parkway, which is $136,000. That commitment was an incentive to bring Carter’s distribution center to the town, said Dees.
A traffic signal is needed at the intersection of SR 53 and Chardonnay Trace because of the congestion caused by the high volume of semi-trucks coming in and out of the Pilot gas station. That and the unknown impact of a planned Race Trac fueling station on the opposite side of the intersection has led to the outspokenness of Vineyard Gate community residents. Dees said plans for Chardonnay Trace include installing an extra turning lane from Pilot onto Chardonnay Trace and adding lanes coming out onto Highway 53.
“There would be a dedicated left (lane), a dedicated straight (lane) and a dedicated right (lane)…” said Dees at a worksession March 7. “There is certainly a proposal for a second exit, which we would love to do, but that’s $3 million… This is the only way to get a traffic signal at Chardonnay Trace. If funding ever became available for a second entrance into the neighborhood, it would absolutely work with this plan. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than it is. At least where you have to interact with the trucks, you’re at a signalized intersection instead of trying to cross lanes of traffic.”
Mayor Pro Tem Richard Mayberry made the motion to enter into a proposal for the town to front $89K in SPLOST funds to begin the project. “This is a great thing we’re going to see in the future once the widening of S.R. 53,” said Mayberry.
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